Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is a very well-known company that has been making and selling personal hygiene products and many other types of products for over 100 years. But in the last few years, many are filing lawsuits against them because of allegations that their talcum powder products are causing people to develop certain types of cancer. Because of this, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson. Johnson & Johnson pulled their talc-based baby powder products from the U.S. and Canada markets back in May due to the lawsuits. But what has happened since then? Read on to find out the current update on the J&J talc lawsuit and what has happened in 2020.

Settlements & Deals

Johnson & Johnson has been battling multiple lawsuits for years but most recently are getting more notice. Some of the most recent events concerning settlements and court decisions regarding talcum powder include:

  • In June 2020, J&J’s bid to throw out a jury verdict in favor of women who blamed their ovarian cancer on its baby powder and other talc products was rejected by a Missouri court.
  • During October 2020, J&J was ordered to pay over $100 million to settle over 1000 talcum powder lawsuits.
  • In November 2020, J&J’s appeal was denied for 2.12 billion in damages to award to women who claimed their cancer was a result of talc-based baby powder products.

Asbestos and Talcum Powder

Talcum powder is a natural mineral that people mine from the earth that has a silky soft texture. The alleged reason talcum powder is causing cancer is that the mineral might be contaminated with asbestos. Asbestos is a known human carcinogen that causes serious health problems. Many labs and other government-funded organizations are conducting studies to test for the presence of asbestos within talc. Here is a timeline in which there have been studies of asbestos-contaminated talc:

  • In 1957, trace amounts of asbestos fibers are found in samples of talc from J&J’s Italian supplier.
  • During the mid-1960s, talc from Vermont mines owned by a subsidiary company of Johnson & Johnson is also found to contain traces of asbestos. Sample tests continue to find small amounts of talc through the 1970s.
  • In September 2018, AMA landed a one-year contract to test talc-containing cosmetics for the presence of asbestos fibers.
  • During October 2019, the FDA updated the Safety Alert and issued a warning not to use talcum powder that tested positive for asbestos.
  • In October 2019, J&J voluntarily recalled one lot of baby powder, after a sample tested positive for asbestos. The recalled product Johnson’s Baby Powder Lot #22318RB.

Status of the Litigation

There are many previous talcum powder lawsuits that have settled in the state of California. The current update on the J&J talc lawsuit and the]MDL for the litigation is active in the District of New Jersey under the U.S. District Court. Johnson and Johnson are currently the main manufacturers people are prosecuting in the talcum powder lawsuit.

Other Companies Using Talc

Even though J&J are not the only company that is producing talc-based beauty products, they are the main company in the mass tort lawsuit. But because of this, many other companies and organizations are taking notice of the possibility of talcum powder being harmful.

Popular big brand makeup companies including Chanel, Revlon, and L’Oreal announced they are slowly moving away from talc in their beauty products. They made this decision after observing the many lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and the hundreds of complaints from women alleging the development of cancer from the use of talc. They want to keep their brand reputation as a safe product. These companies do not want a product that customers perceive as negative or harmful.

Baby Powder Sales Globally

As stated previously, Johnson & Johnson announced they were pulling all talc-based products from the U.S. and Canada markets. But they will continue to produce and sell it to the rest of the world. In July 2020, more than 170 nonprofit organizations called for J&J to stop selling talc-based products globally. They believe if there is a possibility it contains asbestos, no one should have the option to buy it. Additionally, they are asking to recall the existing inventory in North America as it could still possibly cause harm. As of now, they are continuing to sell to worldwide markets excluding Canada and the U.S.